NAMA unveils new communication technology for pilots, controllers
The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), has flagged off the test-run of its Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract/ Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (ADS-C/ CPDLC) in the nation’s airspace.
At the flag-off, which held last week at the Lagos Area Control Centre (ACC), was the Managing Director of NAMA, Engr. Ibrahim Abdulsalam, accompanied by other aviation parastatals’ chief executive officers, including the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Usman Muhtar and the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Engr. Saleh Dunoma.
Daily Trust reports that in the layman’s parlance, ADS-C/CPDLC could be likened to the digital text messaging in a regular GSM phone as it complements the voice calls.
In a situation where a pilot is unable to reach a particular contact, he could decide to leave a text message that may not require immediate response, especially on a busy network. Even when the network is fine, one could also decide to chat with a contact rather than do calls.
The facility, according to NAMA, would aid aviation communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management.
Our correspondent learnt that 24 NAMA staff, comprising 12 air traffic controllers and 12 engineers, recently attended a 10day operational and technical training on the facility in Paris, France recently.
According to the NAMA weekly bulletin made available to our correspondent, a successful log-on and communication with airlines such as the British Airways, Lufthansa Airlines and Emirates Airlines was activated, to the admiration and excitement of the aviation CEOs.
Other airlines that have also logged on to the service include Arik Air, Ethiopian Airlines and Etihad Airlines.
The agency, however, disclosed that it had issued an Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) to aviation stakeholders worldwide, including airlines, service providers and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on the availability of the ADS-C/ CPDLC in the Nigerian airspace.
The AIC is aimed at sensitizing stakeholders on the commencement of the service in the country and also to highlight the benefits derivable from the use The Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria, Captain Samuel Akinyele Caulcrick, has explained the circumstances surrounding the decision of the federal government to locate the Boeing 737 simulator being procured for the college in Lagos.
Speaking exclusively to our correspondent in Abuja, Capt. Caulcrick said that even in the initial proposal, the Next Generation Flight Simulator, as it is called, wasn’t meant to be located at the NCAT Zaria as it would amount to a waste of the facility’s potentials.
According to him, the original plan was to locate the facility in Abuja, but on a second consideration, government reckoned the facility in Lagos would be more profitable.
According to him, contrary to claims in certain quarters that the simulator had already arrived Nigeria, being moved to Lagos and handed over to Caverton to operate, it was still being expected. The $21 million simulator being built in Canada is expected to arrive in Nigeria in December 2016, thus, he argued, it couldn’t have been of the service, intended scope of the service, as well as requirements for airborne equipment, flight planning and operations.
Preparatory to the actual take-off of the service, a successful Site Acceptance Test (SAT) had been conducted, just as a four-day site training for critical personnel, including engineers and air traffic controllers drawn from both Kano and Lagos ACCs had ended in Lagos.
Commenting on the new facility, the NAMA MD, Engr. Abdulsalam said the feat was made possible by staff of the agency “who toiled endlessly to see to this wonderful addition to the digitalization of air handed over to Caverton to operate.
“Zaria was out in the first proposal. Abuja was favoured but the Federal Ministry of Finance wanted a viable project and Lagos was preferred after a feasibility study,” he explained.
Explaining further, Caulcrick said, “The NCAT has simulators. We have two ALSIM simulators; the most modern simulators available. We can train somebody from the scratch till when he or she gets a licence as a pilot. But when the students leave the school and enter the industry, they have to train on the simulator on the aircraft type they would fly. So if you would fly a Boeing, you will train on a Boeing simulator; same with Airbus and others. This particular simulator in question is a Boeing simulator because Boeing is the most commonly used aircraft in Nigeria. Almost all the airlines Nigeria fly Boeing. Every six months, pilots are supposed to go for refresher training but this training is cheaper if done in simulators locally. All over the world, these refresher trainings are done in simulators.”
He explained that Caverton had begun investing in a simulator traffic management Nigeria.”
He urged the indigenous airlines to tap into the service in order to take advantage of the benefits and deliverables of enhanced safety and efficiency that come with ADS-C/ CPDLC.”
Eng Abdulsalam also explained that the current test-run is in line with international best practices to allow operators adapt to the new service and make necessary comments and observations, prior to full implementation scheduled for November 12, 2015.
He added that a similar test-run at the Kano ACC would commence in a couple of days time.
in when the Nigerian federal government decided to invest in it. Thus with government’s entry, Caverton thought it wise to partner government rather than compete with it. He promised that due process would be followed if a concession would be done on the facility.
“Even if we would concession it to Caverton to manage, there would be agreements signed and all the relevant stakeholders like the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) and others will be involved,” he assured.
On the viability of the project in Lagos, Caulcrick estimated the savings that could accrue to Nigeria from locating it there as $4 million annually.
“Presently, we spend $13m annually to train pilots abroad. But with our simulator, we could earn, at least, $4m annually besides the savings on hotels and flight tickets. In no time, we would recoup our investments. There are also opportunities for improvement as the industry grows. Even the other West African countries are also looking forward to using the facility when we have it,” he said.